In one of our previous publications we have raised the problem of absence of any raptor rehabilitation centre in Ukraine. It is pleasant to notice that on regional level there are attempts of solving this problem.
In the region of Ukrainian Carpathians there isn’t any specialized agency for rehabilitation of wild animals which suffered or temporarily lost abilities to survive in nature. Institutions for reintroduction of rare species don’t exist either. So, suffered animals are usually killed and stuffed or, as a better variant, given to zoos or traveling menageries, where kept till their death.
In August 2007, according to an initiative of staff-workers of the Scientific Department of Galych National Natural Park (Ivano-Frankivsk region, Galych City – www.halychpark.if.ua) the first animal was taken for rehabilitation and further release to nature. In 2008, an idea was born to establish the West Ukrainian Wild Animals Rehabilitation and Reintroduction Centre (hereinafter the Centre) on basis of the Park. The Park administration gave less than 3,000 hrivnas to construct open-air cages, buy food and a freezer.
The second cycle of counts of birds of prey in the alienated zone of Chornobyl Atomic Power Station (CAPS) was carried out from 20 to 22.01.2009. The length of automobile counts was about 380 km within the zone.
Snow cover was 15-40 cm thick. In the first day of works, 20th January, the weather was windless and sunny. A plot in the Pripyat-Dnieper interfluve was chosen for a visit, recommended by S.P. Gashchak (Chornobyl Centre on Problems of Nuclear Safety, Radioactive Waste and Radioecology). Unfortunately, during our last visit into CAPS zone this region had remained unsearched because of difficulties arisen with a permission to get there. That was a reason of underestimation of birds. Having gone by car along the Pripyat upstream, we turned to the north-west. On open areas we recorded 3 White-tailed Eagles. A concentration of White-tailed Eagles was revealed near the village of Gorodchan in Chornobyl district on ice-covered ponds of the Nesvich River, which separates borders of Ukraine and Byelorus (Braginsky district of Gomel region). Birds sat there on ice and trees. Several White-tailed Eagles were recorded also in the village of Chapaevka. In a total, 16 birds were registered there. One of the reasons of the bird concentration was two small unfrozen patches of water near closed sluices. On ice and walkways there were many tracks of birds. Some blood spots of the fish eaten by predators were discovered. In water, there were well seen backs of several fish species, gathered near the source of oxygen. On our way back, we observed 2 other individuals of White-tailed Eagles, and another bird was registered in the Pripyat floodplain. Overall, 22 White-tailed Eagles were counted during the day, 6 of them in adult plumage.